Heaviest strings for USA Strat?


I've got a Highway 1 Strat and a Gibson Studio Les Paul. Both are a year old. The Fender has very lightweight strings and I think I'd like heavier, more like what's on the LP.

But I read somewhere that if you go with heavier strings on a guitar you've got to have something adjusted?

How many thicknesses can I go heavier before having to make some mods?


Senior Member
I find that even moving up one guage bigger requires adjustment to bith the truss rod and intonation....and sometimes the bridge saddle height.

I have played as large as 13-56 on Strats but since I took a few years off from playing I had to go back to 10's for a while

As a general rule of thumb, bigger strings sound better but if your style requires bending that you can't do with bigger strings, then it's a drawback.
People can and do make strings as small as .008s sound good but I can't
10s are the smallest limit for me


I don't know about an american strat, but I let a friend of mine(some fool) borrow my 80's strat and he put some 11/12's hybrid ernie ball strings on it and it twisted my neck. Bottom strings were just to heavy and craeted massive pressures. Needless to say I immediately removed those strings and put on some 9's back on but I can't get the twist out of the neck with the truss rod. That guitar had the really low action and now I have to raise it up to keep it from buzzing. Oh and that friend ain't my friend no more! Moral of the story...watch your gauge.


Silver Supporting Member
Possible adjustments that may be needed if you restring with heavier/thicker gauges than the guitar was originally and/or currently set up for include:

-Adjusting the truss rod- heavier strings may require a slight tightening so the neck isn't overbowed.
-Checking the nut slots.Strings that are larger than the nut slots are cut can bind so you have tuning problems (listen for pinging sounds when tuning up) or not sit properly so that action is high or tone suffers.
-If you have a tremolo strat heavier strings will have more force and will pull up the bridge. You compensate for this by adding springs and/or tightening the claw in the tremolo cavity in the back of the guitar. This will offset the pull of the strings.
- Checking/adjusting the bridge saddle height for comfortable action with the new gauge followed by checking the intonation and moving the saddles for best intonation if needed.

By the way I've strung two MIJ stratocasters with .011-.054 strings with a wound third .018/.020w and haven't had any problems.

Since I don't know what's on the guitar now, its hard to judge how much tweaking would be needed. You could just put on a set similar to what is on the LP and see how that works out.

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